The title "His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts…" comprises one line of a chanted prayer from the story "Sredni Vashtar" by Saki [H.H.Munroe]. Continually bullied and psychologically tormented by his elderly cousin/guardian, Mrs. DeRopp, 10-year-old Conradin is given an ragged, elderly hen and a large polecat-ferret by a local butcher's boy, who takes pity upon the lonely, isolated lad. Hiding his treasures in an old tool shed, and pouring out love which has no other outlet, Conradin bestows upon the ferret the mystical name "Sredni Vashtar" and develops a mythology in which the ferret becomes Conradin's protector, a god., in service of whom Conradin makes offerings of stolen spices, fiercely red flowers, and scarlet berries, for the great ferret "…was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things." When Conradin worships Sredni Vashtar, he chants an invocation:
Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful.
After Mrs. DeRopp discovers and sells the elderly hen, Conradin adds a repeated plea to his worship, leaving the specifics of the boon unstated: "Do one thing for me, Sredni." When, realizing that Conradin still possesses some secret joy, his guardian again snoops around the shed. Watching from the house, Conradin imagines her "…opening the door of the sacred hutch and peering down with her short-sighted eyes into the thick straw bed where his god lay hidden." For hours, in mingled hope and despair, Conradin awaits her triumphal exit from the shed, carrying his god in its hutch. . . but instead, "out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-brown beast, with eyes a-blink at the waning daylight, and dark wet stains around the fur of jaws and throat." Later, amid the confused babble and outcry evoked by the servants' finding Mrs. DeRopp's body in the shed, Conradin calmly makes himself a piece of toast and slowly savors it.